US 20050044256 A1
A method and apparatus for suppressing silence frames in a stream of media includes receiving a stream of media from a user and suppressing at least one silence frame from the received stream of media. The suppressed silence frame includes an initial silence frame situated before a first media frame and/or a silence frame situated between two successive media frames.
1. A method for suppressing silence frames in a stream of media, the method comprising:
receiving a stream of media from a user; and
suppressing at least one silence frame from the received stream of media.
2. The method of
3. The method of
4. The method of
5. The method of
6. The method of
7. A computer-readable medium storing codes for enabling a processor to perform a method for suppressing silence frames in a stream of media, the method comprising:
receiving a stream of media from a user; and
suppressing at least one silence frame from the received stream of media.
8. The computer-readable medium of
9. The computer-readable medium of
10. The computer-readable medium of
11. The computer-readable medium of
12. The computer-readable medium of
13. An apparatus for suppressing silence frames in a stream of media, comprising:
means for receiving a stream of media from a user; and
means for suppressing at least one silence frame from the received stream of media.
14. The apparatus of
15. The apparatus of
16. The apparatus of
17. The apparatus of
18. The apparatus of
19. An apparatus for suppressing silence frames in a stream of media, comprising:
a receiver capable of receiving information;
a transmitter capable of transmitting information; and
a processor capable of carrying out a method for suppressing silence frames in a stream of media, the method comprising:
receiving a stream of media from a user; and
suppressing at least one silence frame from the received stream of media.
20. The apparatus of
21. The apparatus of
22. The apparatus of
23. The apparatus of
24. The apparatus of
The present invention relates to point to point or point to multi-point communications systems. More specifically, the present invention relates to methods and apparatus for suppressing silence frames in media communications.
In wireless communications systems, a stream of media, such as voice, video, data, picture, includes some undesirable silence periods that cause end-to-end media communication latency. Such silence frames include initial silence frames appearing ahead of the first actual media frame as well as silence frames that appear between successive media frames. To reduce call set-up and media-delivery latency, it is desirable to minimize such silence periods.
For example, a class of wireless services intended for quick, efficient, one-to-one or one-to-many (group) communication has existed in various forms for many years. In general, these services have been half-duplex, where a user presses a “push-to-talk” (PTT) button on a phone/radio to initiate a group call. If granted the floor, the talker then generally speaks for a few seconds. After the talker releases the PTT button, other users may request the floor. These services have traditionally been used in applications where one person, a “dispatcher,” needs to communicate with a group of people, such as field service personnel or construction site workers, which is where the “dispatch” name for the service comes from. A key feature of these services is the desirability of quick call set up and media delivery.
There is a need, therefore, for mechanisms to reduce end-to-end media communication latency.
The disclosed embodiments provide novel and improved methods and apparatus for suppressing silence frames in media communications. In one aspect, a method in a communication device (CD) for suppressing silence frames in media communications includes receiving a stream of media from a user and suppressing at least one silence frame from the received stream of media.
In one aspect, an apparatus for suppressing silence frames in media communications includes a memory unit, a receiver, a transmitter, and a processor communicatively coupled with the memory unit, the receiver, and the transmitter. The processor is capable of carrying out the above-mentioned methods.
The features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the detailed description of disclosed embodiments set forth below when taken in conjunction with the drawings, and wherein:
Before several embodiments are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the scope of the invention should not be limited to the details of the construction and the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.
Group communication devices (CDs) 104 and 106, which may be deployed such as cdma2000 handset, for example, may request packet data sessions using a data service option. Each CD may use the session to register its Internet Protocol (IP) address with the group call server to perform group call initiations. In one embodiment, group call server 102 is connected to the service provider's packet data service nodes (PDSNs) through a service provider's wide area network 116. CDs 104 and 106, upon requesting packet data sessions from the wireless infrastructure, may have IP connectivity to group call server 102 through a PDSN 114. The PDSNs provide interface between transmission of data in the fixed network and the transmission of data over the air interface. Each PDSN may interface to a base station controller (BSC) through a packet control function (PCF) 108 and a network 112. The PCF may be co-located with the BSC within a base station (BS) 110.
A packet data service node may fall in one of several states, e.g., active or connected state, dormant state, and null or inactive state. In the active or connected state, an active traffic channel exists between the participating CD and the BS or BSC, and either side may send data. In the dormant state, no active traffic channel exists between the participating CD and the BSC, but a point-to-point (PPP) link is maintained between the participating CD and the PDSN. In the null or inactive state, there is no active traffic channel between the participating CD and the BSC, and no PPP link is maintained between the participating CD and the PDSN.
After powering up, CDs 104 and 106 may request packet data sessions. As part of establishing a packet data session, each CD may be assigned an IP address. Each CD may perform a registration process to notify group call server 102 of the CD's IP address. Registration may be performed using an IP protocol, such as session initiation protocol (SIP) over user datagram protocol (UDP). The IP address of a CD may be used to contact the CD when the corresponding user is invited into a group call.
Once a group call is established, CDs 104 and 106 and group call server 102 may exchange media and signaling messages. In one embodiment, media may be exchanged between the participating CDs and the group call server by using real-time protocol (RTP) over UDP. The signaling messages may also be exchanged by using a signaling protocol over UDP.
Group communication system 100 performs several different functions in order to operate group call services. The functions that relate to the user side include user registration, group call initiation, group call termination, sending alerts to group participants, late join to a group call, talker arbitration, adding members to a group, removing members from a group, un-registering a member, and authentication. The functions that relate to system preparation and operation include administration and provisioning, scalability, and reliability.
For the reverse link, at mobile station 206, voice and/or packet data (e.g., from a data source 210) and messages (e.g., from a controller 230) are provided to a transmit (TX) data processor 212, which formats and encodes the data and messages with one or more coding schemes to generate coded data. Each coding scheme may include any combination of cyclic redundancy check (CRC), convolutional, turbo, block, and other coding, or no coding at all. The voice data, packet data, and messages may be coded using different schemes, and different types of messages may be coded differently.
The coded data is then provided to a modulator (MOD) 214 and further processed (e.g., covered, spread with short PN sequences, and scrambled with a long PN sequence assigned to the user terminal). The modulated data is then provided to a transmitter unit (TMTR) 216 and conditioned (e.g., converted to one or more analog signals, amplified, filtered, and quadrature modulated) to generate a reverse link signal. The reverse link signal is routed through a duplexer (D) 218 and transmitted via an antenna 220 to base station 204.
At base station 204, the reverse link signal is received by an antenna 250, routed through a duplexer 252, and provided to a receiver unit (RCVR) 254. Base station 204 may receive registration information and status information, e.g., mobile station mobility rate, from mobile station 206. Receiver unit 254 conditions (e.g., filters, amplifies, down converts, and digitizes) the received signal and provides samples. A demodulator (DEMOD) 256 receives and processes (e.g., despreads, decovers, and pilot demodulates) the samples to provide recovered symbols. Demodulator 256 may implement a rake receiver that processes multiple instances of the received signal and generates combined symbols. A receiving (RX) data processor 258 then decodes the symbols to recover the data and messages transmitted on the reverse link. The recovered voice/packet data is provided to a data sink 260 and the recovered messages may be provided to a controller 270. Controller 270 may include instructions for receiving media, buffering media, suppressing silence frames in the media, and transmitting the media to a group of target CDs.
The processing by demodulator 256 and RX data processor 258 are complementary to that performed at mobile station 206. Demodulator 256 and RX data processor 258 may further be operated to process multiple transmissions received via multiple channels, e.g., a reverse fundamental channel (R-FCH) and a reverse supplemental channel (R-SCH). Also, transmissions may be simultaneously from multiple mobile stations, each of which may be transmitting on a reverse fundamental channel, a reverse supplemental channel, or both.
On the forward link, at base station 204, voice and/or packet data (e.g., from a data source 262) and messages (e.g., from controller 270) are processed (e.g., formatted and encoded) by a transmit (TX) data processor 264, further processed (e.g., covered and spread) by a modulator (MOD) 266, and conditioned (e.g., converted to analog signals, amplified, filtered, and quadrature modulated) by a transmitter unit (TMTR) 268 to generate a forward link signal. The forward link signal is routed through duplexer 252 and transmitted via antenna 250 to mobile station 206. Forward link signals include paging signals.
At mobile station 206, the forward link signal is received by antenna 220, routed through duplexer 218, and provided to a receiver unit 222. Receiver unit 222 conditions (e.g., down converts, filters, amplifies, quadrature modulates, and digitizes) the received signal and provides samples. The samples are processed (e.g., despreaded, decovered, and pilot demodulated) by a demodulator 224 to provide symbols, and the symbols are further processed (e.g., decoded and checked) by a receive data processor 226 to recover the data and messages transmitted on the forward link. The recovered data is provided to a data sink 228, and the recovered messages may be provided to controller 230. Controller 230 may include instructions for receiving media, buffering media, suppressing silence frames in the media, and transmitting the media to a group of target CDs.
The group call service (GCS) may allow one user to talk to a group of users in a half-duplex or full-duplex mode. In the former case, because only one person may be permitted to talk at a time, the permission to talk may be moderated by the infrastructure. In such systems, a user may request permission to talk by pressing a “push-to-talk” button (PTT), for example. The system may arbitrate the requests received from multiple users and, through a contention-resolution process, the system may choose one of the requestors according to a predetermined algorithm. The system may then notify the chosen user that the user has permission to talk. The system may transparently dispatch the user's traffic information, such as voice and/or data, from the authorized talker to the rest of the group members, who may be considered “listeners.” The voice and/or data traffic in GCS may be different from the classical one-to-one phone call, and a priority may be placed on some conversations.
When the group call server receives the group call request, the group call server may expand the pre-defined groups, if any is specified in the received group call request, into a list of group members. The group call server may retrieve location information for the desired target group members. The group call server may also determine if the target group is already running in the system.
After the group call server locates at least one of the target group members, the group call server may send a response 404 back to the caller's CD indicating that the group call is being set up. At this point, the caller's CD may optimistically grant the caller's request to talk. The caller's CD may start buffering the received media for future transmission to the group call server, as discussed herein later. The group call server may use the location information of the target listeners CDs to send out announcements 406 to the target listeners' CDs. Sending the announcements may trigger the packet data sessions of the target listeners' CDs to come out of dormancy and to re-establish their traffic channels. After at least one of the target listener's has responded to the group call announcements 406, the group call server receives the response 408, and delivers a group call response 410 to the caller's CD.
In one embodiment, the group communication system supports both chat-room and ad-hoc models for group call services. In the chat-room model, groups are predefined, which may be stored on the group call server. The predefined groups, or nets, may be public, implying that the group has an open member list. In this case, each group member is a potential participant in a group call. The group call is started when a first group member starts to initiate a group call. The call remains running for a pre-determined time period, which may be configured by the service provider. During a group call, the group members may specifically request to join or leave the call. During periods of talk inactivity, the group call may be brought into a group dormant state until a group member requests permission to talk. When operating in the chat-room model, group members, also known as net members, communicate with one another using a communication device assigned to each net member. The term “net” denotes a group of members authorized to communicate with each other.
In the ad-hoc model of group call services, however, groups may be defined in real-time and have a closed member list associated with each group. A closed member list may specify which members are allowed to participate in the group call. The member list may not be available to others outside of the closed member list, and may only exist for the life of the call. Ad-hoc group definitions may not be stored in the group call server. The definitions may be used to establish the group call and released after the call has ended. An ad-hoc group may be formed when a caller selects one or more target members and generates a group call request, which is sent to the group call server to start the call. The group call server may send a notification to the target group members that they have been included in the group. The group call server may automatically join the target members into the group call, i.e., no action may be required from the target members. When an ad-hoc call becomes inactive, the group communication server may “tear down” the call and free the resources assigned to the group, including the group definition used to start the call.
The call set up time that starts with sending the group call request 402 from the caller's CD and ends with the caller's CD receiving the group call response 410 from the group call server. The goal for responding to the PTT or group call request is to consistently respond to the request within a predetermined short time period. In many cases, when a caller requests to setup a group call, the caller's packet data session is dormant, meaning that no dedicated traffic channel exists. Re-establishing active channels may take considerable time. In one embodiment, the group call server pages the target listeners' CDs to locate the CDs.
The call set up latency and media transmission delay may be reduced by suppressing or puncturing silence frames appearing in the media. In one embodiment, some or all of the silence frames situated before the initial media activity immediately after a user is granted floor for media delivery, e.g., initial media spurt, may be suppressed before the media is transmitted over the network. In one embodiment, in which the received media may be first buffered before being transmitted to the target listeners, some of the silence frames situated between two successive media frames may be punctured before the media is transmitted over the network.
When the media stream 502 is transmitted to a target CD without silence frame suppression, the target CD receives the media stream 504. The media stream goes through a media transmission latency, which includes a call set up delay t1 and a transmission delay t2. The call set up delay t1 includes the time it takes for the caller's CD to send a call request 402 to the time the caller's CD receive a call response 410. The transmission delay includes the time it takes to transmit media from the caller's CD to a target's CD.
In one embodiment, the media transmission latency is reduced by suppressing the initial silence frames that precede the initial media spurt frame 1. When the media stream 502 is received at the target CD and the initial silence frames that precede the initial media spurt frame 1 is suppressed, the media stream 506 is received at the target CD.
In one embodiment, the media transmission latency is reduced by suppressing some of the silence frames separating successive media frames. In one embodiment, a predetermined number of silence fames that separate successive media frames may be transmitted to the target CD, so that the media recognition is not undesirably affected. In one embodiment, the silence frame that follows a first predetermined number of silence frames following a first media frame and precedes a second predetermined number of silence frame preceding a media frame subsequent to the first media frame is suppressed.
The silence frames F and G are not suppressed because these two silence frames follow the media frame 6. The silence frames K and L are not suppressed either because these two silence frames precede the media frame 7. However, silence frames H, I and J are punctured.
The silence frames M and N are not suppressed because these two silence frames follow the media frame 8. However, out of silence frames 0, P, Q, R and S that follow the silence frames M and N only the silence frame 0 is suppressed, as will be discussed below.
Assuming the buffer has a certain dept, e.g., five frames, upon receiving the fifth media frame “3,” as shown by buffer content 714, the buffered frame “1” is transmitted to the target CD, and the received media buffer “3” is buffered. Similarly, upon receiving the media frame “4,” as shown by buffer content 716, the buffered frame “2” is transmitted to the target CD, and the received media buffer “4” is buffered. Likewise, upon receiving the media frame “5,” as shown by buffer content 718, the buffered silence frame A is transmitted to the target CD. In the same way, upon receiving each of the frames D, E, 6, F, G, H, and I, one buffered frame is transmitted, and the respective buffer contents are shown by 720 through 732.
When the silence frame J following four silence frames F, G, H, and I is received, as shown by 734, silence frame H is punctured, because the predetermined number of silence frames separating media frames 6 and 7, e.g., F, G, I and J, are kept in the buffer for transmission to the target CD. Similarly, when the silence frame K is received, as shown by 736, silence frame I is punctured, because the predetermined number of silence frames separating media frames 6 and 7, e.g., F, G, J, and K, are kept in the buffer for transmission to the target CD. At this point, the silence frame F is transmitted, upon receiving the silence frame K, and the buffer will contain three frames, e.g., G, J, and K.
Likewise, when the silence frame L is received, as shown by 738, silence frame J is punctured, because the predetermined number of silence frames separating media frames 6 and 7 are either transmitted, e.g., F, or are kept in the buffer, e.g., G, K, and L, for transmission to the target CD. At this point, silence frame G is transmitted upon receiving frame L, and the buffer contains two frames, e.g., K and L. When the media frame 7 is received, as shown by 740, silence frames K and L are not punctured, because they are the predetermined number of silence frames preceding media frame 7, e.g., 2, which are kept for transmission to the target CD. At this point, silence frame K is transmitted upon receiving frame 7, and the buffer contains two frames, e.g., L and 7.
The process of media buffering and transmission continues as shown by 742 through 750, when the buffer contains the silence frames N, O, and P, and the first silence frame M following the media frame 8 has been transmitted. When the talker's CD receives the silence frame Q, as shown by 752, the second silence frame N following the media frame 8 is transmitted. Realizing that the content of buffer shows that there are a predetermined number of silence frames for transmission, e.g., P and Q, before a possible upcoming media frame, the silence frame O is punctured and the silence frame P is transmitted.
However, when the talker's CD receives the silence frame R as shown by 754, realizing that the content of buffer shows that there is no silence frame other than the predetermined number of silence frames, here Q and R, before a possible upcoming media frame, no silence frame is removed, but the silence frame Q is transmitted. Similarly, when the talker's CD receives the silence frame S, as shown by 756, realizing that the content of buffer shows that there is no silence frame other than the predetermined number of silence frames, here R and S, before a possible upcoming media frame, no silence frame is removed, but the silence frame R is transmitted. As a result, among the sequence of the silence frames following the media frame 8, only the silence frame O is punctured.
Those of skill in the art would understand that information and signals may be represented using any of a variety of different technologies and protocols. For example, data, instructions, commands, information, signals, bits, symbols, and chips that may be referenced throughout the above description may be represented by voltages, currents, electromagnetic waves, magnetic fields or particles, optical fields or particles, or any combination thereof.
Those of skill would further appreciate that the various illustrative logical blocks, modules, circuits, and algorithm steps described in connection with the embodiments disclosed herein may be implemented as electronic hardware, computer software, or combinations of both. To clearly illustrate this interchangeability of hardware and software, various illustrative components, blocks, modules, circuits, and steps have been described above generally in terms of their functionality. Whether such functionality is implemented as hardware or software depends upon the particular application and design constraints imposed on the overall system. Skilled artisans may implement the described functionality in varying ways for each particular application, but such implementation decisions should not be interpreted as causing a departure from the scope of the present invention.
The various illustrative logical blocks, modules, and circuits described in connection with the embodiments disclosed herein may be implemented or performed with a general purpose processor, a digital signal processor (DSP), an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC), a field programmable gate array (FPGA) or other programmable logic device, discrete gate or transistor logic, discrete hardware components, or any combination thereof designed to perform the functions described herein. A general-purpose processor may be a microprocessor, but, in the alternative, the processor may be any conventional processor, controller, microcontroller, or state machine. A processor may also be implemented as a combination of computing devices, e.g., a combination of a DSP and a microprocessor, a plurality of microprocessors, one or more microprocessors in conjunction with a DSP core, or any other such configuration.
The steps of a method or algorithm described in connection with the embodiments disclosed herein may be embodied directly in hardware, in a software module executed by a processor, or in a combination of the two. A software module may reside in RAM memory, flash memory, ROM memory, EPROM memory, EEPROM memory, registers, a hard disk, a removable disk, a CD-ROM, or any other form of storage medium known in the art. An exemplary storage medium is coupled to the processor, such that the processor can read information from, and write information to, the storage medium. In the alternative, the storage medium may be integral to the processor. The processor and the storage medium may reside in an ASIC. The ASIC may reside in a user terminal. In the alternative, the processor and the storage medium may reside as discrete components in a user terminal.
The description of the disclosed embodiments is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make or use the present invention. Various modifications to these embodiments may be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles defined herein may be applied to other embodiments, e.g., in an instant messaging service or any general wireless data communication applications, without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown herein but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features disclosed herein. The word “exemplary” is used exclusively herein to mean “serving as an example, instance, or illustration.”